Jukebox-like interior lighting is already beginning to grate

It’s funny how your opinions on a car can change so dramatically with a little time, the initial wave of contentedness morphing into annoyance, dislike or even hatred.

It’s not like the catalyst for this change of mood even has to be particularly big. Sometimes the little things make all the difference.

And so we come to the Clubman. I would argue that one of its finest attributes is its interior, a classy and well-built environment that invites you in with supple leather seats, high-quality finishes and enough Mininess to make it a more interesting alternative to the ubiquitous Audi A3.

Even so, within that cabin is something that would grate if I had to drive this car every day. Surprisingly, it’s not to do with practicality. (It may not be as roomy as an A3 Sportback, but it’s perfectly acceptable.)

No, it’s the interior lighting that really grinds my gears – specifically, the LEDs that surround the central infotainment screen. No matter what you do, they always seem to be flashing one colour or another. Switch driving modes and the colour changes. Increase the volume on the stereo and the lights flash. Have the sat-nav on and they signal your approach to a turning.

Our Verdict

Mini Clubman

Mini's Peter Pan image finally diminishes as it grows up with the arrival of the mature-looking 'six-door' Clubman

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During the day, this isn’t really a problem.If anything, the sat-nav linkup can be quite handy. Try driving the Clubman at night, though, and the LEDs go from an amusing light show to a serious distraction.

Where an infotainment display adjusts itself to account for darkness, the Clubman’s LEDs continue to glare with the ferocity of a vintage Wurlitzer jukebox. Factor in their continual changes in colour and brightness and you feel like reaching for the duck tape to cover them up.

I have since found a sub-menu for the central display that allows you to adjust the brightness of the disco lights at night or turn them off completely. Hopefully that means the duck tape won’t be necessary…


Price new £21,810 Price as tested £29,925 Economy 49.6mpg Faults None Expenses None Last seen 12.10.16

Read our first report on the Mini Clubman here

Join the debate


20 December 2016
It's duct tape.

20 December 2016
275not599 wrote:

It's duct tape.

Duct tape is adhesive-backed aluminium foil.

Duck tape is a brand of cloth-backed gaffa style tape.

The latter is therefore a much better choice for this sort of work - it's tougher and goes around complex curves much more easily. The former is really only any use for sealing joints in ducting systems - hence the name.

20 December 2016
An entire article whinging about LED's that can't be adjusted or turned off. Final paragraph?... They can be adjusted or turned off after all.

20 December 2016
As per above, why write an entire review based on the annoyance one feature generates... if the feature itself can be switched off completely.

Why not write about it's ugly gaping grille - there's a feature that IS annoying.

20 December 2016
What an odd piece. Has the author escaped from Autoexpress?

20 December 2016
The worst TV programmes I saw on Christmas day. I found the off switch on Boxing day.

20 December 2016
the lights are the least of my worries, I have seen a few now and I just dont like it, it is just looks odd in all views, which is shame as MINI was great at first now lost... It looks like a large car wearing a MINI suit

20 December 2016
What bothers me most is not the 'turn-offable' lights, more the fact that this car has £8115 of extra options fitted, but still looks so bad?? The glossy bits in the 'classy, well built interior' look like something you'd find in a top spec Dacia!

20 December 2016
My wife's got a new Mini and we love it. To the point where I'd have serious difficulty trying to persuade her or myself to change it for anything but another Mini. We considered a Fiat 500 but concluded that the interior was not in the same league as the Mini. We also toyed briefly with the idea of something like a Fiesta but concluded that their interiors are a bit third world these days in comparison.

To put it in context I own a 3 series BMW and have gone from thinking it's a nice enough car to absolutely hating it? Why? Because it has absolutely no character or charm. The jukebox style interior of the Mini may have its detractors but you know what it's at least got personality. My next car won't be a BMW now. But I'm secretly hoping BMW do make a similar sized car to the 3 series with a Minis interior and call it a Triumph. If they don't do it my money walks and it probably goes on the Ford Mustang

20 December 2016
TStag wrote:

..The jukebox style interior of the Mini may have its detractors but you know what it's at least got personality....


Mini (or BMW Mini to be more exact) gets a lot of stick on its various models, like the ultimately pointless moan in this article. A lot of the stick is to do with the styling of various models inside and out. Fair enough, people have difference tastes and Mini models won't appeal to everyone, but at least the company doesn't follow the herd and has been going for something different. I applaud it for taking that approach.


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